Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that his recent surprise visit to the Khmeimim Air Base in Syria's Latakia province was only possible due to the current security situation following the defeat of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). Putin made the statement at his annual press conference at the World Trade Centre in Moscow, Thursday. The event is Putin's 13th... Еще press conference and is being held in a live question and answer format. Among the accredited Russian and foreign media outlets are AFP, Bloomberg, Xinhua News Agency, CNN and the Guardian. Reporters from regional press outlets, such as Unknown Siberia and Arkhyz 24, will also have a chance to ask questions. Last year, 1,437 journalists were accredited for the event, with 48 of them managing to ask their questions. Putin answered 67 questions last year. This year 1,640 Russian and foreign journalists have been accredited. The 2008 press conference is still the longest ever — at four hours 40 minutes. Putin answered 106 questions during that event. The second longest presser was in 2012, lasting four hours 33 minutes.